When you are faced with a chronic illness or condition, medication will probably play a large role in your treatment plan. Medication is designed to be taken for very specific amounts of time, in specific dosages, and at specific intervals during the day. More and more individuals are taking prescription medications every day, and more than three fourths of adults over the age of 65 take two or more prescription drugs. This number is only going up, and is expected to double by 2030! But what happens if you don’t take your medication as prescribed? There are major consequences from failing to adhere to your medication routines, and AccuServ seeks to help individuals make medication management as simple and easy as possible. Read on to find out more about medication management, hindrances to taking medication, and solutions.
It is difficult to fully measure the consequences of medication non-adherence, but there are some sobering statistics on the subject. When medication is not taken as prescribed, it results in 30-50% of treatment failures and 125,000 preventable deaths a year! Those statistics are staggering given that the answer is just adherence to a prescribed medication. The American Heart Association also states that poor medication adherence to heart failure drugs increases emergency room visits, and the risk of hospitalization, re-hospitalization, and premature death is five times higher among hypertension patients who don’t take medications as prescribed. Non-adherence also costs the healthcare system billions a year, with the increased emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and additional doctor visits. The effects of medication non-adherence are vast, and obviously the solution is to increase adherence. Why is medication adherence so difficult, and what can be done?
Combination of Factors
Medication adherence does not come down to one factor, there are many moving pieces to this puzzle. However, with an estimated 50% of patients not taking their medications as prescribed, something needs to change. Medication adherence is a complex issue that involves the patient, the physician, and the process of taking the medication. Just identifying that a patient may be non-adherent with their medication can be difficult, and requires particular interviewing skills. Most patients are not willing to fully reveal that they are not taking their medications as prescribed, so the issue gets even more confused if they are not truthfully stating how much medication they have taken. You can take biochemical measurements of the patient’s blood or urine to get an accurate count of how much medication is in their bloodstream, or count remaining pills that the patient may have forgotten, but you want to find a solution that will keep the patient on track from the start. We will explore in-depth some of the reasons that hinder medication adherence.
The healthcare system is large, and some patients may find it difficult to navigate. You may be seeing physicians and specialists who are not in the same network and who can’t easily communicate and access your information. A breakdown in information can lead to a delay in appointments, which in turn slows down medication prescriptions and refills. Patients may not understand the intricacies of the healthcare system, and may not keep their regular appointments or adequately communicate with their physicians. This could lead to medication nonadherence being overlooked. Patients may also feel that drug costs or copayments are too expensive, and may try to stretch their prescriptions out, or not refill them as often as necessary. Medication education can help solve this problem, and the importance of taking prescriptions exactly as they are prescribed emphasized. The technology and data collection in the healthcare system has improved in recent years, making patient records more accessible. Patients and physicians need to work together to make the healthcare system successful.
When we talk about taking the correct medications, it is easy to see this as just the patient’s responsibility. However, physicians are a crucial part of medication adherence, both in prescribing and in identifying when non-compliance is occurring. Being able to spot that a patient is not taking their medication correctly is the first step in being able to provide solutions and remedies. Physicians also may not take enough time to explain the medications they are prescribing, the medication regimen they want their patients to follow, or the side effects that might occur if the medication is not taken correctly. Improving communication can go a long way towards improving medication adherence. Physicians may also prescribe various medications over the course of several visits, and not realize the burden they are placing on their patients to have so many pills to manage. Physicians and patients need to work together as a team to successfully manage medications. If you feel unsure about your prescriptions, are having unexplained side effects that make you want to discontinue the medication, or are having trouble with the amount of pills you have been prescribed, talk to your physician.
A lack of knowledge about their illness, or the chronic issues they are dealing with can lead some patients to not be motivated to take their medication. Unless they are informed as to what the medication does, why it is important, and what will happen if they don’t take it, they may not be motivated to stick with a medication routine. Even though patients work together with their physician and their overall healthcare system, the actual taking of the medication is left to them. If a patient feels empowered, and educated about their medications they are more likely to make taking them a priority. Another problem with compliance comes when patients feel better after taking medication for awhile, and decide that they can discontinue the routine. This traces back to patient education, and the fact that, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 35% of adults in the US have basic or below health literacy. If a patient doesn’t really understand how the medication works, or why finishing the dose is essential, they are less likely to be medication adherent.
Another big factor in medication compliance is forgetfulness and overly complicated medication routines. If you have many prescriptions to take multiple times per day, it can become overwhelming to remember if you have taken the right pills, at the right time. The packaging that the pills comes in can also be burdensome, and having to open multiple difficult packages a day can leave a patient frustrated and tired. This is where AccuPac comes in!
AccuPac is a revolutionary pill packaging system that can help with medication adherence. Your pills are prepackaged in doses that are clearly labeled according to patient, dosage, and time of day they are to be taken, and because they are on an easily removable roll, you always know where you left off. Even if you take multiple medications, AccuPac makes it simple by packaging them in exactly the doses you need throughout the day. While we can’t solve all of the problems with medication adherence, we make forgetting what medications you have taken a thing of the past! Even better, we do all of this at no extra cost to you—you pay what you normally would for your prescriptions, and we take insurance as well! Your prescriptions are automatically refilled as prescribed, and delivered straight to your door! If you want to increase your medication adherence with a simple system that makes remembering to take the correct medications easy, you need AccuPac! Find out more today!
Knowing the drastic results of medication non-adherence is hopefully a provocation to make some changes in your medication routine, or that of a loved one. Dementia, reduced mobility, and chronic illness can all contribute to medication non-adherence. You want to take all of the steps you can to ensure that you, or your loved ones, are getting the right medications at the right time. AccuPac is here to help, and our pill packaging is designed to make your medication routine simple and easy to adhere to. If you want a solution to the jumble of pill bottles, contact us today to get started!